Wanaka rural lifestyle property is a sought after commodity. So many people making the move south to live the kiwi lifestyle dream want their few hectares with a garden patch, some hens and room for the kids to roam.

The district plan also has tight control over the subdividing of larger blocks in order to prevent uncontrolled urban sprawl. The Wanaka 2020 plan, a community-supported growth strategy produced in 2002 saw the council decide that it needed to undertake detailed structure planning of the land surrounding the Wanaka township.  This was key to making sure that Wanaka developed in a managed way that met the needs of the growing community. The community consensus indicated that the desire was to keep build-up of development within the boundaries of the Cardrona and Clutha rivers.

Buyers of Wanaka rural lifestyle property greater than 5 hectares are limited to New Zealand buyers. The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) prevents non NZ nationals from buying lifestyle blocks. The adherence to these rules has been stepped up since the 2017 election. It is now impossible for anyone other than New Zealanders to buy larger lifestyle blocks.

The resale of blocks can be significant. The idyllic scenario of having the kids growing up with the rural lifestyle also quickly gives way to parents becoming taxi drivers as the kids hit the teenager stage. Also, many buyers underestimate the work involved in maintaining a larger block – rabbit control and garden maintenance can be a full-time job and certainly cost prohibitive for many non-resident owners.

The ideal blocks have an aspect with a view, sun and are more sheltered from the prevailing spring equinox but are not too far from town but still have a distinctly rural feel to them.

Mt Barker is very popular for these reasons. Hawea Flat is really popular for the strong community spirit and wonderful school and kindergarten. Queensberry is popular for the views. Closer to town than these general areas are very popular.

Purchasers of these blocks have to realise that town is coming closer with Three Parks. This is an advantage for those looking for convenience but, not for others.

Tarras and Bendigo offer more of that true rural feel with less amenities within close driving range and neighbours that are not too close at all. This is a real up and coming area of the greater district.

There are some real gems out there when it comes to lifestyle blocks but you need to be ready to pounce the minute they come on the market and even better still have your ear or someone’s out waiting for just the right block to rear its head.